Intermittent brief periods of ischemia have a cumulative effect and may cause myocardial necrosis.
We investigated the effects of brief intermittent periods of ischemia on myocardial viability. Brief periodic coronary occlusions were produced up to 18 times by inflating and deflating the balloon of an intracoronary No. 2F catheter for periods of 15, 10 or 5 minutes, followed by 15-minute periods of reperfusion. Creatine kinase (CK) release, triphenyl tetrazolium chloride staining, and light and electron microscopy were used to detect the presence of myocardial necrosis. For the study of CK release, blood was taken from the great cardiac vein and the aorta before and at 5-minute intervals during each left anterior descending coronary occlusion, as well as during and 1, 5, 10 and 15 minutes after balloon deflation. In seven of 24 dogs with 15-minute occlusions, in five of 21 dogs with 10-minute occlusions, and in three of 32 dogs with 5-minute occlusions, small but distinct areas of subendocardial necrosis were present. In all dogs with morphologic proof of necrosis, there was periodic release of CK into the great cardiac vein, which peaked immediately after reperfusion, reflecting CK washout. Thus, brief periods of ischemia, which when single do not cause necrosis, have a cumulative effect and may cause myocardial necrosis. This mechanism of necrosis may be relevant clinically in patients with frequent anginal episodes. Since many dogs of this study did not have any myocardial necrosis, the findings also suggest that intermittent reperfusion has a beneficial effect and may prevent necrosis, even when total occlusion time exceeds 200 minutes.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association